Isaiah 44:12

Hebrew Bible

10 Who forms a god and casts an idol that will prove worthless? 11 Look, all his associates will be put to shame; the craftsmen are mere humans. Let them all assemble and take their stand. They will panic and be put to shame. 12 A blacksmith works with his tool and forges metal over the coals. He forms it with hammers; he makes it with his strong arm. He gets hungry and loses his energy; he drinks no water and gets tired. 13 A carpenter takes measurements; he marks out an outline of its form; he scrapes it with chisels and marks it with a compass. He patterns it after the human form, like a well-built human being, and puts it in a shrine. 14 He cuts down cedars and acquires a cypress or an oak. He gets trees from the forest; he plants a cedar and the rain makes it grow.

Jeremiah 10:3

Hebrew Bible

1 You people of Israel, listen to what the Lord has to say to you. 2 The Lord says:“Do not start following pagan religious practices. Do not be in awe of signs that occur in the sky even though the nations hold them in awe. 3 For the religion of these people is worthless. They cut down a tree in the forest, and a craftsman makes it into an idol with his tools. 4 He decorates it with overlays of silver and gold. He uses hammer and nails to fasten it together so that it will not fall over. 5 Such idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field. They cannot talk. They must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them because they cannot hurt you. And they do not have any power to help you.”

 Notes and References

"... Whether the Judean pillar figurines designate goddesses or “prayers in clay” to a deity remains unsettled. Though we have no inventory lists of materials used, we do have occasional mention in our written sources. In EA 55, Akizzi, the mayor of Qatna, tells his lord (Namhurya; prenomen of Amenophis IV) that to refashion the statue of Shimigi (= Hurrian sun god), the god of his father (which was taken away by the king of Hatti), he will require “a sack of gold, just as much as is needed.” Tushratta’s lust for solid gold images in contrast to wooden images with gold overlay is well documented (EA 27:33; 26:41). Biblical tradition mentions Aaron’s golden bull (Exodus 32:4), Moses’ bronze serpent (Numbers 21:8–9), Micah’s mother’s silver image (Judges 17:1–5), the iron image of Deutero-Isaiah’s foes (Isaiah 44:12), and stone masseboth of Baal (2 Kings 3:2; 10:26–27), not to mention wooden images (Isaiah 40:20; 44:13–17) and wooden ăšērîm (e.g., Judges 6:26). Ezekiel notes the fine jewelry used for divine images (Ezekiel 7:20; 16:17). The so-called image ban texts are replete with mentions of gold, silver, and wood (Jeremiah 10:3–4; Isaiah 40:19–20; 41:7; 46:6; Hosea 8:4; 13:2; Habakkuk 2:19; Psalm 115:4; 135:15; Exodus 20:23). As for the choice of materials, the most surprising reference is Jeremiah 44:19, which implies the making of cakes bearing the image of the Queen of Heaven ..."

Lewis, Theodore J. The Origin and Character of God: Ancient Israelite Religion through the Lens of Divinity (pp. 132-133) Oxford University Press, 2020

 User Comments

Do you have questions or comments about these texts? Please submit them here.